June 28, 2010 / 8:06 AM / 10 years ago

Explosion in Pakistan's Hyderabad kills 18: police

HYDERABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - At least 18 people were killed on Monday when a truck carrying chemicals exploded in Pakistan’s southern city of Hyderabad, but police said the blast was most likely an accident.

“It looks like the explosion was caused in the chemicals because of the heat, as we have not yet found any evidence suggesting it was a bomb or a suicide attack,” Hyderabad police chief Fayyaz Leghari told Reuters.

The truck was parked at a truck stop on the outskirts of Hyderabad, 160 km (100 miles) north of the southern financial capital of Karachi.

Muhammad Ali Baloch, a senior superintendent of police, told Reuters that 18 people were killed and more than 30 wounded in the explosion.

Pakistan has been hit hard by militant violence in recent months as it fights Taliban and al Qaeda militants in the northwest.

Militants, believed to have been cornered in their strongholds near the Afghan border, have hit back, carrying out attacks in several cities and killing dozens of people.

Separately, security forces in the northwestern Orakzai region killed 12 militants after their checkpost came under attack, a government official said. Two soldiers were wounded in the attack.

There is no independent verification of official figures of casualties.

Reporting by Hamid Shaikh, Faisal Aziz in Karachi and Javed Hussain in Parachinar; Writing by Faisal Aziz; Editing by Chris Allbritton

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